If “Not Giving Up” by Pleasure Pill sounds more refined than most bands’ third songs, there’s a good reason for that. Even if they’re technically “new,” the San Diego quintet has been around the local and regional punk and indie scene for a decade at this point — in different bands.
Lead singer Jonah Paz put the group together after cutting his teeth with DIY bands, bringing in his brother and rhythm guitarist, Ethan Paz, longtime friends Luke Blake (lead guitar) and Ivan Delgado (bass), and Dom Friedly on drums. The outcome was a cleaner, catchier, and more professional group than anything that any of them had ever played on before — and thus with a ceiling that they hadn’t even dreamed of.
“The transition into a band for us was pretty smooth, because we all knew the way things work in a band,” Paz says. “I had a good chunk of the songs ready before we were even a band. I think we all just realized that the songs were of a different caliber than the other stuff that we’d been a part of, so why not give it the attention that it needs?”
“We really put our heart and soul into rehearsing these songs, so I’m super psyched about how they’ve come out,” Blake adds. “I think it’s the moment in our music careers that we’re all most proud of and feel the most confident about, just because we know how good it is. We’ve all been playing music for over 10 years in many bands, but this is definitely the thing we’re most excited about.”
From a music standpoint, Pleasure Pill is equal parts timeless pop and modern rock. Like a millennial Oasis, that grew up on ‘90s and 2000s punk and indie, tracks like “Not Giving Up” could be played opening stadiums for a band like Coldplay just as easily as they could fill the air of a sweaty smaller venue packed with crowd surfers. There’s a Killers-like feel to Pleasure Pill that suggests its digestible, yet unique, tunes could appeal to widespread audiences regardless of genre or generation.
“We’re just a guitar act with catchy melodies and big choruses at the forefront, and we don’t want to be anything other than that,” Paz says. “We’re just trying to make songs that are undeniable and anthemic. Good art is timeless. We love all the classic rock stuff, but we’re not trying to go out there and be some copycat. We’re not trying to go backward, even though we draw from a lot of those inspirations. We want to be moving forward into new territory a little bit — or at least trying to.”
Pleasure Pill is just getting started. They’re not expecting to instantly break through on the backs of a few strong singles, but everyone involved is also aware that there is potential for something big to happen. As a band that formed at a time when lush touring plans aren’t a guaranteed necessity for every new artist, Pleasure Pill agree that international touring is a target they’re all aiming for in the long run.
“We just want to really tour all over the world and really travel with our music,” Paz says. “We’ve done countless rinky-dink ‘fund up to your own tour’ kind of thing and play basements or whatever. That’s fun and that’s cool — it builds character — but we’re all just ready to be a proper act that’s globally known.”
“We want to reach as many people as possible and go out there and meet all these people,” Blake adds. “We all grew up doing the whole ‘rent a van, go on tour, don’t make any money, play to six people in a basement’ thing. That has its place when you’re 16, but we’re all adults who are committed to this band unlike any other that any of us have ever been in. We’re just trying to go all out, put all our cards on the table and have the biggest outcome possible.”